By Julie DiCaro
It’s fair to say that I spend a fair amount of time in my little corner of the internet complaining about what Theo Epstein and the Chicago Cubs do wrong. Admittedly, this is much less wrong than they did under the previous regime (I mean, we haven’t started hoarding mediocre second basemen. . yet), but old habits die hard and, let’s be honest, Jim Hendry inflicted some pretty deep scars on my psyche.
But there’s a lot the Chicago Cubs have started doing right under Theo Epstein and company, and I’d like to take a moment to point out one of those things. As a woman, this is a thing I particularly appreciate.
As you know, a woman in the Dominican Republic has filed a criminal complaint against Cubs reliever Carlos Marmol for domestic battery. While this is far from the first time a professional athlete has been accused of violence against women, the Cubs’ response to the situation has been somewhat atypical. Rather than issue the usual knee-jerk blanket denial about standing behind “their guy” while demonizing the alleged victim (I’m looking at you, Steve Alford), the Cubs seem to have actually put some thought and effort into their decision to stand behind Carlos Marmol:
“We take any accusation of this nature seriously,” Epstein told the Tribune. “All the information we could gather supports Carlos’ contention that he is innocent of any wrongdoing. We expect this matter to be behind him soon.”
And how did the Cubs “gather” information? Did they rely on Carlos’ big brown puppy dog eyes and a statement from his agent? They did not. In fact, it looks like the Cubs did some investigating of their own:
The Cubs sent attorneys to the Dominican to look into the criminal complaint that 24-year-old Miledys Mejia Cepeda filed. No police charges apparently have been filed since the incident allegedly occurred last October, and a hearing on the matter was conducted Friday.
And this isn’t the first time the Cubs have waited for the evidence to shake out before they publicly voiced their support for a player. Here’s what Theo Epstein had to say about the sexual assault allegations against Starlin Castro last off-season:
“I don’t think it’s the right time or forum to talk about that,” Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said Wednesday at a kickoff luncheon for the convention. “As facts develop and the story evolves, there will be an appropriate time to talk about that.”
Ideally, of course, Theo would have then gone on to stress the value of women as human beings rather than sexual objects in our society, and then finish his session by stumping for the renewal of the Violence Against Women Act, but I’ll take what I can get. The fact that Theo didn’t immediately discount either one of these victims, but instead waited to see what evidence implicated or exonerated his player, feels like a huge step forward.
And while Theo appears to be a grown-ass man who values women as equals, he’s also a smart businessman. After all, it’s not a good idea to alienate 47% of the fan base (now I’m looking at you, Dave Sappelt).
Hey, don’t forget that we had to reschedule yesterday’s edition of Wrigley Talk Friday because of a mysterious personal near-tragedy that may or may not be revealed on the show tomorrow. We’ll be on the air tomorrow at 3 pm CT . You can listen here live, listen later, or download from iTunes.